“How do you nurture a positive attitude when all the statistics say you're a dead man? You go to work.”
- Patrick Swayze
Your attitudes either help, speed up, and assist you in your career or they hinder, slow down, and hurt your progress in your career. Attitudes are how we think, feel, or act. They are reflected in how we choose to behave as we do things in our career. In other words — attitudes determine actions.
Attitude is a choice. An attitude can translate into how you have chosen to practice and embody your thoughts, feelings and choices — so that it becomes part of how you act; how we act as we progress in our career.
Lou Holtz, a famous football coach, once said, “Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”
The one constant throughout your career is your attitude and how you act throughout the course of your career. No matter what your personal purposes or goals are for your life, your attitude is the one thing that is always there.
Sure, that attitude may shift here and there, if you’re having a good day or a bad day — but for the most part, for most people, it vacillates within a certain range and relies on outside influences rather than inner choice. If you were to take a survey, you’d likely find that most people think emotion and attitude are things that happen to them, rather than something they themselves can create and adjust.
Others see it. Others feel it. Others are either inspired by your attitudes or discouraged by them. Attitude may be the single most important factor in a person’s career.
To make your career successful, highly successful, it’s worth inspecting your own attitude and if it could bear some improvement. This is why we talk about attitude. This is why people spend years studying and seeking inspiration from highly successful people in all fields: sports, humanitarians, leaders, organizations, teams, groups, motivational speakers, gurus, and so on.
Their intelligence, knowledge, expertise, wisdom, and leadership vary greatly. In fact, it is not always the smartest or more experienced person that wins or succeeds. It is the person or group with “winning” attitudes that succeed.
Attitude can act as the gatekeeper to your talent. Which is to say, it doesn’t matter how talented you are, it matters how open your attitude is to winning. The world is full of failures who could have been successes, but their talent was closed off by poor attitudes and their career suffered because of it.
When looking at highly successful people in all fields, the one thing they have in common is their attitude or how they act throughout the course of their career. This is why attitude is so critical to success.
Quite possibly the most important attitude of all is a “positive attitude.” It is simply a decision to make the best of things in order to succeed in your career. It is worth going over this again.
A positive attitude is a decision to make the best of things.
With a positive attitude as your foundation — you can accomplish anything in your career. No matter what adversity is set in your path, no matter what boundaries or barriers you run into, no matter what limits you are presented with — the decision to make the best of things, to make things go right, to get things done anyway, to make the best of any situation — that’s where the pot of gold is.
Don’t confuse a positive attitude with something it is not. We are not talking about “being happy” or “being nice” or even “being friendly.” We are talking about how we act and how that impacts our success in our career. A positive attitude is a determination to never give up. A positive attitude is shaking off failure or confusion because you are focused on succeeding. A positive attitude is believing something can be done even when you don’t yet know how.
Win: To succeed or achieve a result (something done) through effort.
As professionals, we WIN because we get things DONE. We get things DONE because we Care, we Understand, we Make it Simple, we decide to Be the Best, we Do the Impossible, we Do Things Right, we Create the Future through our actions today, and we Work Hard.
How to win
Decide you can. Don’t decide you can’t. Please remember that the moment you decide you cannot do something, there you go, you have decided – game over.
Get things DONE. In order to win, we have to get things done. In order to get things done we have to work hard. Daily plans, meetings, completing tasks, weekly reports – all of these tools help us win (getting things done through effort).
Getting things done is the focus of every day. It is the foundation of why we win. Winning has nothing to do with others losing. Winning has nothing to do with beating the competition. Winning has nothing to do with being “better” or “smarter.”
Winning happens when we get things done. In fact, winning only happens when we get things done. We don’t want others to do poorly. We don’t celebrate someone else losing. These are distractions and take our focus off what works – focus on getting things done.
Focus on getting things done and we all win. Focus on the professionals that are succeeding and copy them if you have to — find out what they successfully do at work to get things done.
Plan your day. Make time to get things done. Get the things you plan done. Action, action, action. Motion, motion, motion. Don’t stop until you succeed. Winning takes effort. If you get stuck – ask for help. Winning often requires help from others. Don’t quit on yourself in the face of adversity. See it as an opportunity to solve a problem, or rise to new heights of success.
You are worth the effort.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
- Benjamin Franklin
In terms of how to walk into something that is a stressful situation — the best advice is to prepare by practicing.
There is a level of preparation that goes far beyond what most people make the time to do. Say for example that you are about to get on a call and have what could be a very stressful talk, most people will kind of sit down and think about what’s going to happen, think about how they are going to react and that is preparation. That’s it. They just ponder it for a few minutes and then jump in, unprepared.
Go further. If you really want to prepare for a talk, practice it – “role play.” Sit down in front of another person and ask them to pretend to be the person you are going to talk to and rehearse the conversation.
It may seem silly, it may seem uncomfortable, it may seem fake and contrived. But if you do that, you will be so much better prepared, so much calmer, so much more collected when you finally have to confront the situation.
In sales, it can be stressful, absolutely, being stressed before a call. Not knowing what to do — your heart could be racing — so just role play. Sit down with someone else and say, “You pretend to be the client, I am going to pretend to be the sales person, let’s start.”
At first you might stumble and ask to start over. Do that three or four times. And by the time you are done you are like “Wow, I feel much better, I feel like I can do this.”
This is something that teams can do together. Let's say you have a team getting ready to pitch a big new client. It is a really big deal and it certainly has stress connected to it. There is a lot of money involved and a lot of time involved and there is a lot of pressure to get it done right and make it happen.
So, bring the team together and just do a series of practice rounds where you practice the presentation. Meet together and go over questions you are likely to be asked and go around and do the full presentation multiple times on separate days to really get comfortable and confident.
By the time you get to the actual meeting, it should be smooth sailing. At this point you will have done the presentation three or more times. Doing this really does create a lot of certainty and calm.
On this journey we are bound to encounter troubles. How we deal with those challenges is everything. Do you give up in the face of adversity? Do you succumb to your negative thoughts and emotions — attitudes?
Or do you rise up?
It really doesn’t matter what the nature of a difficult situation or condition is, what misfortune or tragedy you face in life or in your career. What does matter is how you approach it, how you overcome it. What matters is your attitude.
An opportunity is a situation in which something can be done, a favorable juncture of circumstances, a good chance for advancement or progress. It all depends how you look at it.
The choice is yours.